Teens grow leadership skills through National 4-H Congress

Michigan teens excelled in leadership at national 4-H event and reflect on their experiences.

Teens pose for picture
Michigan delegates exploring Atlanta, Georgia, during the 2019 National 4-H . Photo by Janelle Stewart, MSU Extension.

Each year, over 900 teens experience a five-day national 4-H leadership program in Atlanta, Georgia, through their participation in National 4-H Congress. The program is aligned with the “4-H Grows True Leaders” National 4-H campaign designed to empower youth to grow and develop their leadership skills. In 2019, 43 states and Puerto Rico were represented in Atlanta with a theme of “Go Beyond,” where teens were challenged to take their leadership skills to the next level. Eighteen teens representing Michigan 4-H Youth Development experienced leadership workshops, a day of service and tours of Atlanta including the Atlanta History Center, World of Coca Cola, Atlantic City Aquarium and CNN. The teens also interacted with motivational speakers, attended an evening of cultural and had an opportunity to meet other teens from across the United States.

The following quotes from Michigan delegates reflect on the impact the participants had from their experience.

“I have loved and learned so much from this event. The workshops have made me a better leader and person. I have made so many friends from all over the United States and met so many inspirational people. I am so ready to make MY community and world a better place. This whole experience has changed how I look at things for the better. The workshops gave me skills to be a better person and leader. I have learned how to use my passion to help other people,” said Hannah Reckner, Lenawee County 4-H member.

“4-H congress has been my favorite event to attend in 4-H. I enjoyed meeting other 4-H members from across the country and I gained many life skills like service learning, social skills and self-motivation,” said Peter Rambadt, St. Joseph County 4-H member.

“I had such a wonderful time and it has been the highlight of my 4-H experience. I loved meeting so many other 4-H members, and especially loved all the workshops. I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned about leadership back to my community. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and I will never forget what a wonderful I’ve had,” said Kiara Ferris, Branch County 4-H member.

If you are between the ages of 15 and 19, you can join a group of Michigan delegates at the centennial celebration of National 4-H Congress, Nov. 27 – Dec. 1, 2020.

For more information on how you can increase your leadership skills, contact your local Michigan State University Extension county office and be prepared to grow as a leader!

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